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Agrigento, city located on the southern coast of Sicily (Italy) a few kilometers from the sea, on two hills, the Girgenti hill, and the Atenea cliff and on a plateau to the south of these which ends at noon with the steep walls of the Temple hill. Founded by 580 BC Rhodian colonists from Gela, reached its apogee in the century. 5th BC. The walls erected at the summit of the rocky ridges embraced by surrounding hills and plateau so singularly wide area; to adapt to the ground were devoid of towers, except for a few at the doors. The Acropolis was identified in the Atenea cliff, while most of the town was the plateau, the actual Valley of the Temples.
Taken by the Romans in 210 BC, Agrigento became for the decline of other cities – and increasingly in the imperial age – the only major center of southern Sicily. Bishop Gregory, in sec. 6th, turned into three-aisled basilica the temple of Concord, arched opening in the cell walls and walling up the intercolumniation with a method, adopted also in the cathedral of Syracuse, which was used to preserve the structure of the roof; the temple was ‘restored’ in 1748. 829 Agrigento was finally conquered by the Muslims, who called Jirjent (hence Girgenti) and repopulated by the Berbers Kutama. With the Normans, however, he began a commercial decadence and slow depopulation which culminated with the almost total depletion of the Ribat and the disappearance of the element Muslim who until William II once constituted the majority of the population; even before the advent of the Angevin demic decline resulted conspicuously. Walls, medieval towers, and gates were demolished between 1868 and 1929; there are only remnants of the southern section. The road network ‘Islamic’ is partly preserved; the neighborhood of Balatuzzo, turned into the quarry, it has been destroyed by speculation that devastated the Sicilian environment, causing the landslide of 1966 and the abandonment of the Ribat.
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